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Old Man on a Bike
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on 24 September 2017
This is some pretty inspirational stuff. Compared to the author I'm a spring chicken and I am umming and arrhing about a little bike ride of a couple of weeks. That a 70 something man with a heart condition should tackle and complete such a massive journey on a little 125cc Honda with an 80kph cruising speed and cover anything from 250 to 800kms a day is amazing. I like the way he observes but doesn't so much comment. What I did learn even more than I thought I knew. Is what a disgrace the American government and it's big business is. The United Fruit and General Noriega stories are particularly damming of America. I had no idea so many innocent people were killed when the Americans got Noriega. Anyway, an interesting and educational book. In which we learn many of the boogie men are not real and all that it's probably best to ignore what most people who have never been to a certain country say about safety as they have no idea.
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on 30 March 2016
As a nearly 70 year old biker stuck in bed with a heavy cold I read Simon Gandolfi's book, and its sequel "back to back". I really enjoyed both books. It's rare to find a writer in this genre who is more interested in meeting people in the countries he travels through AND listening to what THEY have to say than in their own "adventure". So in the depths of my cold-ridden misery I was able to learn how the very real people he encounters live, and their view of the world, especially the bullyboy USA Superpower as it affects their humble lives. Gandolfi's writing brings them, their landscapes and cultures and food to life. He is a VERY brave creature to take on all of this from the saddle of a small motorcycle, but this makes the read much more interesting than "three times around the universe on my 2000 cc BMW all conquering behemoth" would be. Bravo Maestro Gandolfi !
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on 6 March 2015
If you're looking for a piece about motorbikes, you'll be disappointed - although there is a little. If you're looking for a travelogue with an insight into other cultures, you should enjoy it. If you're entertained by someone reporting on how officialdom works - or doesn't, the Machiavellian interference of the CIA and USA in other countries, the views of people in other cultures, the misconceptions we have of life and attitudes in South America, then you'll love it! It's a stressless, but entertaining read, full of humour, endearing in parts, challenging in others, often revealing, sometimes uplifting, but laugh out loud, certainly at the beginning. The author's journey recalls some wonderfully scary journeys through incredibly beautiful and treacherous mountain passes, the warmth and generosity of everyone he met, and how brilliant a Honda 125 (pizza delivery bike) can be!!!! Well worth spending a few hours sharing his journey through the Americas.
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on 7 June 2012
I have read numerous motorbike travel books including all Ewan's and Che's, but Simon Gandolfi's is by far the best I have read to date. If you only read one motorbike travel book chose this one. Briliantly written with simple but graphical flowing sentences. Simon gives an honest account of interaction with locals which gives an excellent picture of life in Central & South America, he clearly does not enjoy riding in cold & rainy weather on poor roads, but we've all been there at some point. I have not read any of Simon's previous books as I mainly stick to travel and motorbike books.
If I have to comment on any negatives there are 2 minor ones, and 1 major. The minor ones are that I would have liked the last chapter to have been more descriptive, and a map showing the towns (not just the countries) would have added to the experience. The major dislike was....I didnt want the book to end, I wish it had been another 300 pages, and that says a lot for someone who reads slowly.
All in all, a brilliant book, a real eye opener. Go ahead buy it, you wont regret it. Remember "its never too late".
One person found this helpful
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on 10 July 2017
I found this book an enjoyable read, maybe part of it being an ex biker and also somewhere along the same age as the author. What a game lad riding all that distance on a bike not much bigger than a moped I kept wondering as his mileage clocked up. He was very concise in all his writing with some nice funny bits. A good read for the price and I will be looking to read more from Mr Gandolfi.
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on 27 October 2017
Simon is more of a diarist than a writer imho. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about this courageous mans trip on what is an odd choice of bike initially, but which turns out to be a quite sensible choice in the end. The downside is that the book is religion heavy, or rather heavier than I would like.
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on 27 May 2016
A truly endearing and Inspiring read. Hats off to this brave 73-year-old man, and a hearty back slap for debunking many myths, rumours and half truths. As Simon says, " Attitude" is what helped him with ease through customs and all encounters. In my own limited experience of travelling, " Manners" go along way, but best of all, they don't cost anything. I wanted to give this 4 stars or 4 and a 1/2, as the last third seemed a little rushed, but then he didn't want to miss his flight back, and then can you blame him for wanting to get back home after 5 months and 22,000 miles of hard core riding. I hope he does a South East Asian Bike tour ( he would be 83 now ), I will be reading his book. Excellent.
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on 15 October 2016
At first, I thought it was a little bit too political, however as I continued to read I started to appreciate his observations expressed through the eyes of the people he meets. It 's what travel is all about, learning and he has enough life experiences to be able to shout out loud if he so desires. A lot of what he writes is thoughtful and I wish I knew enough about the history he talks about. It makes you inquisitive and I hope I will be as adventurous and wise as him, if I get to reach his age. Well done, you are an inspiration in so many ways. Thank you.
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on 12 November 2015
This was a great book - travelogue, autobiographical, history lessons, local meals & hostelries. I bought the kindle version of 'Old Man on a Bike' for two reasons, one as background reading for a South American trip and two, as it looked like an interesting book of a mature traveller's experiences. Also, incidentally, a good recommendation for his bike. The book did not disappoint!
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on 17 September 2015
Lovely easy to read book.
Not very deep or challenging and more a reflection of the authors current place in life (a rich and interesting life it appears to me).
The writing style does take a while to parse, but once you recognise that he is writing directly as if he is speaking in some sections then it is fine.
Recommended for those of us who like to ride motorbikes and to travel.
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